The Organization Of African Unity Essay, Research Paper
As African countries fought to gain and maintain independence from colonial rule, during the 1950 sand 1960 s, it became apparent that there was a need for a stronger, more unified entity that could represent their interest in the political arena. They needed a body that could combine the efforts toward self- rule of the small governments while maintaining each country s sovereignty. Most importantly though, these African nations sought an organization that can raise the standard of living for all Africans. Thus the need arose to form the Organization of African Unity.
Africans had long lived poor and deprived from the outset of colonial rule. They lived malnourished both physically and intellectually, as there was no hope for a better future under the highly racist and oppressive colonial rule. In an attempt to alleviate the mass bloodshed usually involved with gaining and preserving independence from colonial rule Africans had long needed a power that would represent them. Further they needed an entity that could preserve their stance of non-alignment with the current power structures that were forming amongst the rest of the world s nations. Most importantly the Organization of African Unity could stance as a means to build a support system for the weak newly independent nations. These stood as easily understood strong justifications for the forming of the OAU.
The OAU was a product of the efforts of numerous individuals. Liberian diplomat Edward Wilmont Blydent, Jamaican Marcus Moziah Garvey, who formed the Universal Negro Improvement Organization, and William DuBois, an articulate African American highly educated in African affairs, and writer Kobina Sekyi all played a major role in forming and promoting the premise behind the OAU, long before its formation. Yet the actual organization s formation only came after a number of conferences by the thirty-two newly independent African nations. Together on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, they decided that the Pan African movement should take shape as they drew the charter for the organization.
This charter proved very vital and influential as it provided the political organization necessary for success, as well as it outlined the goals of the OAU. The charter established an assembly of heads of state of government, a council of ministers, a general secretariat post, and a commission which would settle disputes among the member states. Additionally the charter declared the expectations of the member states, as they pledged to concord their policies pertaining to:
1. Political and diplomatic cooperation;
2. Economic cooperation including transport and communication;
3. Educational and cultural cooperation;
4. Health, sanitation and nutrition cooperation;
5. Scientific and technical cooperation;
6. Cooperation for defense and security;
With organization and compromise the OAU quickly found success in its efforts in obtaining its stated goals. These goals included promoting the unity and solidarity of the African States and intensifying the cooperation in achieving a better life for the people of Africa. In addition the OAU strived to defend each nation s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. Further, and very importantly the OAU sought to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, whether it be indirect or indirect rule. Lastly they sought to promote worldwide cooperation in maintaining due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In conclusion, the Organization for African Unity stands as the foundation for Africa s present political structure. It was an invaluable asset in the formation of a better Africa, as its effects continue to be seen in African progress today.